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GamePro's Old Age is Catching Up to Them
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 06, 2005   |   Episode 50 (Show Archive)  

   

I don't suppose this is the time to bring up that old Soul Calibur II vs. Virtua Fighter 4 debate, is it?
With 200 issues under their belt, GamePro magazine has 16 years worth of gaming expertise ... or at least, we thought they did. In their most recent issue we've uncovered a number of strange irregularities that deserve some further examination; comments that sound good, but are wholly untrue. We hope this was nothing more than editorial oversight, but fear that GamePro may be getting a bit careless in their old age.

It all started with a simple quote from their Soul Calibur III preview. For the most part their page-long article was paint-by-numbers, a general piece that did little more than glance over some of the biggest additions to the game. But it wasn't their description of Namco's upcoming fighter that is causing a stir, instead it's the very first line that reads:

"Everyone can pretty much agree that Soul Calibur II was a big disappointment."

We can? I was under the impression that Soul Calibur II was not only one of the best selling games of 2003, but managed to get near perfect marks from just about every game publication under the sun. It may not have been the deepest fighting game on the market, but I certainly don't recall too many people talking about how much of a disappointment it was. Who exactly were these disappointed people?

Confused by this charge I decided to look up a few of the reviews and see if I was just remembering everything wrong. I didn't have to look far before realizing how perplexing this whole matter was. In GamePro's very own review of Soul Calibur II (found in the November, 2003 issue) they had this to say on the matter:


Forget GamePro, here's the only Tokyo Drifter worth talking about!
"Soul Calibur II is a must-have for all fighting-game fans, but its easy-going control is also ideal for the casual gamer who just wants to get a bit of aggression out and look good doing it."

Those were the words of Tokyo Drifer, the GamePro critic who reviewed all three versions that issue. Each of the reviews scored a perfect 5 out of 5 score, proving that at least one GamePro editor was not disappointed by Soul Calibur II. The gushing wasn't just about the PlayStation 2 version, either; Tokyo Drifter had something to say about the Xbox port as well.

"Even if the Xbox was up to its ears in great fighting games (and in case you were wondering, it's not). Soul Calibur II would still be a top choice."

If it were just GamePro giving the game high scores it would be one thing, but the man who wrote about Soul Calibur III plainly said "everyone" was disappointed by the game. If "everyone" was disappointed by the game, then how could the game's average score be over 90% according to GameRankings.com? All three versions are above 90%, proving that the game received far more AAA scores than cries of disappointment. Just who the hell is this "everyone" and what were they disappointed by??


Boy, if those Christians think Soul Calibur II is sexy, they're going to have a stroke when they see Dead or Alive!!
And then I found it ... the one critic who gave the game a failing grade. Perhaps this is the "everyone" this GamePro editor was talking about. Unfortunately, it was just some nameless writer at a site called Christ Centered Game Reviews. Here the writer had no problem with the graphics or sound, no problem with the game's control or variety. In fact, the only problems he had was that it was too violent and that one character (Ivy) wore clothes that some Christians might deem offensive. He wasn't disappointed in the game; he was just disappointed by the fact that Spawn used words like "pissed" and "hell".

Perhaps this "everyone" the writer is talking about is actually just himself, and he has a chip on his shoulder. Maybe he didn't like the game, and he's just pushing his off-center views on his readership. That's fine, I personally have no problem with somebody wanting to do that ... but it's a little shady when you make it sound like everybody agrees with you when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Unfortunately this inaccuracy was not the end of GamePro's problems. Just a few pages later readers found a review of Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict written by Vicious Sid. In the review he makes this startling claim:

"Unreal Championship fizzled on the Xbox because its particular breed of lightning-fast FPS action didn't translate well to limited home controllers."


If they are going to talk about games that fizzled, perhaps they should start with the Getaway!
Unreal Championship fizzled?? Just as before the critics all loved the original Unreal Championship, giving it high marks and complimenting it on the way it handled the fast-paced game play. Heck, even GamePro gave the game a 4.0 when they reviewed it (the exact same score as they gave the sequel). The game itself did fairly well at the store level, as well. It was the second most popular Xbox Live game at its launch, and sold a high number of titles right out of the gate. It didn't achieve the numbers of Halo 2, but it was no slouch either. So what GamePro means by "fizzled" is anybody's guess.

Old age is not an excuse for making blatant mistakes, somebody should have noted these inaccuracies long before it got to the printing press. What's truly sad is that the chances are good the writer will never actually realize their blunder, and that few GamePro readers will be adept enough to write to them and complain. I can only imagine by the time they hit their 400th issue we might see something that reads: "we can all pretty much agree that the Nintendo 64 was the best system of all time." I shudder to think.
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